Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I-Pod Therefore I Am

The great Western philosopher Descartes wrote that “there is a deceiver of supreme power and cunning who is deliberately and constantly deceiving me.”

I think it might be Steve Jobs.

I simply could not exist without my iPod. And truthfully I’d like to think the iPod can’t live without me either, as our histories are intrinsically synced. You see, I hit the market as a single chicken right about the same time the iPod hit the mainstream. There we were, both launching ourselves into uncharted territory, wondering what fate had in store for us. A suburban mom and an MP3 player, repackaged and ready to change the world. The iPod and I were partners in crime, armed with nothing more than a 99-cent song in our hearts and big dreams for the future.

Except the iPod actually had a multi-million dollar advertising budget while I just had match.com and some hand-me-down self help books. But nonetheless! We were all charged up and ready to play.

I received my first iPod as a cheer-up-during-the-divorce present. It was a great influence right from the start. I stopped stealing music from Napster and Limewire and started paying for it fair and square. I stopped smoking (eventually) and obsessively started making custom playlists. I stopped crying and started creating a new soundtrack for the happy new life that was just beyond my reach. The new tunes tricked me into feeling happy until I actually became happy, sort of a chicken and the egg thing. I loved my iPod. It was as if I’d hit the clickwheel of fortune.

Slowly but surely my family has joined the cult as well, each for very separate reasons. Two years ago Little Chick got a Nano for Christmas so she could collect the colored iPod cases and little clothes for her iDog. Last year my mom got an iPod so she could order some fancy red speakers from Switzerland that matched the new d├ęcor in her house. But she wouldn’t touch her new little Nano for several weeks as if she had some sort of iPod postpartum depression. So I had to teach my dad how to use it so he would in turn teach her. Up until then my dad vociferously doubted the merit of an iPod, but once he realized you could find the most obscure western tunes and versions of jazz songs no one else had, he was a believer. For a man who’s never stepped foot in a mall, he now goes regularly to check on the latest accessories at the Apple store.

This past weekend we gave my grandmother an iPod for Christmas. As she opened it, Little Chick said, “Mimi, you’re going to love it. It’s like a whole way of life.” Mimi was just flattered we thought she could figure it out. And she caught on remarkably fast. But really, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried to teach your grandmother how to navigate iTunes with your mother and your daughter sitting on either side correcting everything you say. Four generations of iPods in one room – now that’s a lot to download.

I’ve been through several versions of the iPod -- the original classic, a shuffle, and a Nano. Apple keeps dropping new product designs on my head, and much like the force of gravity, I simply can’t resist. This weekend my family surprised me with the new iPod Touch and I am over the moon. Forget a fancy technology review on the capabilities of the device – I am going to look like a badass in public! Yesterday morning I loaded up Little Chick so we would arrive at her school early. I rationalized that we needed to go into the Starbucks across the street to get a latte for her teacher, but really I just wanted to be seen in there during the morning rush with my new iPod Touch. Now granted there was a 12-year old little girl at the table next to me with her new iPod Touch and she was kind of stealing my thunder, but hey, I still had the magic Touch. And in the spirit of the great Southern philosopher Forrest Gump…Cool Is As Cool Does.

I’m sure self-help authors around the world would cry out in horror at my materialistic version of self-worth, but the syllogistic argument simply holds up: The iPod Touch is cool, and I have an iPod Touch, ergo I am cool.

21 comments:

Rachel said...

I'm jealous of you and your uber coolness with your Touch!!
I have the little pink shuffle, so I'm a little bit cool :-)
This was a fabulous read! You are so much fun!
Congrats on your new toy!

BD @ BusyDadBlog.com said...

I love this post. A family that shuffles together, stays together.

About 2 years ago, I introduced my mom to the iPod. As a professed non-techie, it was a long, hard journey. I began the lesson with helping her understand how to burn existing CDs into her iTunes. Buying and downloading music came much later. Funny thing is, when I was in high school, she liked opera, I liked punk. Later in life, I liked classic rock, she liked French music. As it turns out, she recently discovered Buck Owens on a business trip down south. I said "mom, allow me to make you a playlist" -- now we're properly "synched" as they say.

Donna said...

I don't know how I lived before I got my iPod -- it is that important to me.

And yes, I am so jealous of your new Touch!

mikster said...

It's all about still having the magic touch, natch.

suchsimplepleasures said...

i have the iPod nano...from a million generations ago. it's cool, though. i don't mind being stunted, technologically...i'm down with my uncoolness! you, though...way too cool...never even heard of touch...so...that'll tell ya something. but...ask me about ANY generation of power rangers...go ahead, i dare ya!

Kimmylyn said...

I am still on the original iPod. It is seriously the 1976 Monte Carlo. The thing is a boat. I am so very jealous.

Momo Fali said...

My daughter asked for an ipod from Santa...for me! Isn't that the sweetest?! If only he wasn't a figment of our imaginations. Sigh.

As for Mrs. Claus and the Bloody Mary...totally TRUE. We got quite a laugh out of that one!

josey said...

i DON'T have an iPod! *GASP* i guess i've never really had a use for one. it always annoys me when i see people walking around blaring music in their ears. ROTFL!! like when people wear those bluetooth headsets around even when they're not on the phone? LOL! GOOFY! *runs and hides from everyone now* hahhaa!

but...i digress...i secretly want an iPod or something like it, so i can listen to music when i force myself to use the treadmill at the gym...*CRIES*...we have a satellite radio but its just not cool enough!! oh, the shame!! ;)

Robert said...

I'm not a poder..but if it works that weell for you...excellent

Deb said...

So far, that is the only iPod I do not own. We have two of everything they've ever come out with (or so it seems), because my husband is an addict, too. Maybe we need a support group? Nahhhh....

I love the generations of family huddled around the screen. The new Norman Rockwell lives!

Tot's Mom said...

Hmmm... now I must go and get one myself. Or perhaps, I should hint to someone that this would make a cool Christmas gift for a bored mom?? :)

NeoAuteur said...

Everyone in my household has an iPOD. I guess we are an iPOD family. Nice post.

hitechdads.com said...

Aww man now I am really jealous! I soo want one of those! BTW I found this site with all these covers of Stairway to Heaven on it. Some good stuff to stick on your shiny new iPod Touch. I totally dig the Dolly Parton version!

http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2006/05/stairways_to_he.html

~JJ! said...

I love mine too!!!

I have the 80g movie iPod...In LOVE!

Anonymous said...

Great, great. Love the comparison with Apple marketing budget and match.com. Congratulations on the teaching exercise,tremendous patience with the on-lookers.
Carol

Seeker said...

Christine, This is the first time I came to your blog. You write really well.
Congrats on the Touch!! I'm getting my wife one for Christmas too :-)

canape said...

Your grandmother has an iPod. That makes you cooler than you even having a touch one. Coolness through cool grandmas. Generational coolness.

Anonymous said...

Christine, you make me laugh as hard as anyone I have ever known. Love your website/blog and love this article. I can't tell you how much I outwardly laughed from this one. Ahhh, if I could only be so cool. Murray

BURAOT said...

was just about to drop my entrecard. then the title got my attention... then descartes and steve jobs. i chuckled. the i shuffled.

cheers on this wondeful post.

OzarkAngler said...

My wife and I are also shameless adherents of the iLifestyle. We were converted in 2006.

I just read several of your blog posts and they are very entertaining and well written. But this one was my favorite.

We believe that the iPod is THE emerging icon of the digital revolution.

This Christmas, we added a Brookstone Boombucket to our plethora of iPod accessories. I reviewed it on MY blogger blog.

Lizzie said...

Christine- thanks for visiting my blog today. Just happens that this afternoon, I finally traded in my ipod mini that has been dead for a year to a new nano- I really wanted an itouch...but baby steps...At least it makes running fun again!
I love your blog too. I'm putting you on my blogroll.
Cheers-
Lizzie